Sat, 24 Oct 2020

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Uncapped Hertha Berlin forward Matheus Cunha has been drafted into Brazil's squad for their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru, the Brazilian Football Confederation said on Friday.

The 21-year-old replaces Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who has been ruled out of the fixtures with a calf injury.

Cunha has scored seven times in 13 appearances for Hertha Berlin since joining the Bundesliga club from RB Leipzig in January. He has 14 goals in 16 appearances for Brazil's under-23 national team.

Brazil will meet Bolivia in Sao Paulo on October 9 and Peru in Lima four days later.

The South American zone World Cup qualifiers were originally scheduled to begin in late March but were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The top four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament will automatically earn a World Cup berth. The fifth-ranked side will advance to an intercontinental playoff over two legs.

The next edition of football's showpiece tournament will be played in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

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